26 Feb 2014

Timing of autopsy for asylum seeker who died on Manus questioned

8:05 am on 26 February 2014

The body of an Iranian asylum seeker killed during riots on Manus Island has reached Papua New Guinea's capital Port Moresby for an autopsy amid questions over the timing of the process.

Reza Berati, 23, died after suffering a fatal head injury during riots at an Australian-operated detention centre on the 17th of February.

Immigration and Border Protection Department secretary, Martin Bowles, told a Senate estimates hearing yesterday the body arrived in Port Moresby sometime over the weekend and he believed the autopsy was due some time soon.

Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young asked why it was happening eight days after Mr Berati's death.

Senator Hanson-Young says autopsies generally need to happen quite quickly to have the most accurate information.

Mr Bowles said that it was in the hands of Papua New Guinea authorities and Australian officials do not know when it will get results from the autopsy.

Mr Berati's body is due to be returned to his family in Iran.